Mental Health In Women
Maybe if it’s “all in your head,” it’s in your brain chemistry
We women have spent so long and worked so hard for equality in rights, in education, and at work, that it may actually be hard to talk about how we are different.
The World Health Organization has been working on this, and knows a lot about what is going on. Illnesses of the mind, problems with thinking and feeling and living, are only identified by doctors less than half the time. Three out of five people who have this kind of problem wait less than a year before seeing a doctor. This is true of both sexes.
But it is hard to find ways to get people to really believe that it is not possible to fix a problem until you admit that you have one.
Depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. It is actually on its way to becoming the second leading cause of inability to work around the globe.
Various kinds of nervousness and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in women, too.
Asking for treatment is the first step. Yes it is tough, but all providers seem to know more about how to recognize this than they did not long ago. There are medically specialized providers — psychiatrists like me who can give medications, and look at what is going on chemically, offering alternative treatments, too. There are psychologists, who do testing and psychotherapy — a specialized kind of talking that can help change people’s brain chemistry somewhat, too.
I just wish people — especially women — were not so reluctant as they often are to tell a professional what is wrong. We are not interested in “labeling” people, nor in trying to force people to do what they do not want to do.
Women are more often victims of violence than men. They need to discuss this with the professionals who take care of them.
I am always just a little flattered when patients tell me I am easy to talk to, or that my being a woman myself makes things easier.
Sometimes people, especially women, wonder if there is a way to be protected against anxiety and depression. It seems as if people who have some control over what they do in life, and the ability to make some decisions for themselves about what they want to do in life — especially when they have to react to the serious problems that life can and does bring.
We know that support from family, friends — and professionals who care — is precious.
The women’s movement of the 60’s has become something more mature. In the 90’s we could talk about the “empowerment” of women. Now we are looking at more possibilities for women to grow more as whole people, to become more intelligent and strong than ever in history.